Study Abroad Matters: An Alumnus Looks Back

Patrick Fogarty, a graduate of the University of St. Thomas, recently completed his degree in business administration, legal studies in Business, ethics and business law. He is currently employed by General Electric Capital Corporation as a global sourcing analyst. This post is the story of his global study experiences–which helped lead him on his current path.

While at the University of St. Thomas, I had the pleasure of studying abroad three separate times. Each experience broadened my global awareness and appreciation for other cultures. I culminated my undergraduate experience with Management 480, Strategic Management in London, England and Ireland. I chose to participate in this course thinking that it would be the perfect way to transition from college to a full time job - which is exactly what happened. Now that I am a year into my career, I am able to reflect on what influences this particular experience had on my perceptions while operating in the “business world.”

We live in an ever-changing, global economy. Businesses operate differently than they did in the past. Every day, I am able to instantly communicate with suppliers and business partners all over the globe. It is possible for a company like GE to do business with nearly anyone anywhere. It’s increasingly important that business leaders are aware of other cultures and are able to understand and appreciate the differences; both in the way we communicate, and the way we do our jobs. While studying abroad in the United Kingdom, we met with several different business leaders for a glimpse into their operations. This opportunity has provided me with a global outlook that is so necessary. When working with folks in the UK, India, Greece, China, or elsewhere, I have a firm understanding that their viewpoints, beliefs and work standards are likely to be different than mine. This awareness helps establish mutual expectationsallowing more efficient collaborations.

I highly suggest seeking out opportunities to study abroad, specifically the Management 480 course with Phil Anderson. I can’t say enough about what a mentor Phil has been; he still provides guidance and support even though I’m no longer a student. The experience to immerse yourself in another culture doesn’t come often – take advantage of it while you can!